By Council of Great City Schools Superintendent-in-Residence, Michael Hinojosa and Common Threads Co-Founder and CEO, Linda Novick O’Keefe
Imagine a world where every child grows up understanding the vital connection between the food they eat and their overall health. A world where no child goes to bed hungry and everyone has equal access to the nutritious, culturally appropriate food they need to thrive. This does not need to be merely a dream, but rather a reality within reach. It’s a journey that unites the sometimes disconnected worlds of hunger, proper nutrition, and health. As American society faces complex challenges related to food, nutrition, and health, the time is now for leaders across the nation to advocate for change and transformational vision. It’s time to turn the food system on its head, fight hunger, and wage war on diet-related diseases. The goal? By 2030, food will be elevated to the center of all health discussions, not as a mere necessity, but as a powerful tool for societal change.
This vision is not merely about access to food; it’s also about ensuring access to nutritious, culturally conscious foods and health-promoting activities. Communities most at risk of diet-related diseases often find themselves with scarce access to such resources. This stark disparity sheds light on the need for a more equitable food policy and education.
The educational approach should extend beyond traditional academics to include life skills like understanding the importance of nutrition, developing age-appropriate cooking skills, and gaining hands-on experience with sustainable food practices. According to the CDC, American students receive less than eight hours of nutrition education each school year—woefully short of the 40 to 50 hours needed to foster lasting behavioral change.